Homeless people

This survey focuses on the category homeless people, i.e. people who sleep rough, in covered public areas like porches, bicycle sheds, stations and shopping malls or in cars. If they have a roof over their heads, they sleep in homeless shelters, emergency centres for homeless people where they can only spend one night or on an irregular basis with friends, acquaintances or relatives (Wolf et al., 2002).

Survey set-up

The total number of homeless in the Netherlands is estimated on the basis of three registers on homeless people and an estimate based on the so-called capture-recapture method. This method was initially applied in biology to estimate population sizes of certain animal species by means of taking repeated samples. Sciences other than biology, typically use registers instead of samples. The overlap between the registers is considered as recapture. An overall estimate uses statistical models, including the following background characteristics: gender, age, origin and current geographical location. The distribution of these characteristics is based on the distribution in the entire (estimated) population of homeless (more than 17.5 thousand). Figures for the variable marital status are based on the observed distribution in the registrations, so without estimate/extrapolation (more than 5,000). The estimate is subject to a margin of error, ranging from 15.5 thousand to 21 thousand.


  • CBS, WWB uitkeringen volgens het besluit adreslozen (31-12-2008)
  • CBS, gekoppeld register adressen opvangvoorzieningen en GBA (1-1-2009)
  • SIVZ, Landelijk Alcohol en Drugs Informatiesysteem (LADIS; 1-1-2009)